In the United States, we are fast approaching one of the biggest “food holidays” we have, Thanksgiving Day. In my family’s tradition we indulge in turkey, numerous side dishes of autumnal vegetables, yummy fresh baked rolls, and numerous pies to top it off! How appropriate is it then that we stumbled upon this story on CBS tying food and math together?
In this playful interview, Faith Salie discusses the design behind pasta with architect George Legendre. He talks about how pasta is fun to design because in contrast to the buildings and environment around us, pasta is so curved and intricate.
He says, “A lot of the shapes have amazingly beautiful diagrams, you might call them, which might inspire you to design a spiraling museum ramp.” He captures his ideas around pasta design very much in the same way you might with other architectural or engineering designs, by publishing a book titled, Pasta by Design which describes the design and shape of all sorts of pastas using mathematics, plotting, and notation. If you look closely, you can see that the calculations were all done in PTC Mathcad.
Legendre simplifies everything by explaining that “It’s really just trigonometry. One of the crazy things about this project mathematically is that it’s done in just two functions.” However, there are other underlying complexities at hand like air flow, pressure, and temperature that all can actually impact how the pasta tastes and interacts with the sauces it’s served in.
Check out the video below to watch the full interview:
Are you incorporating mathematics and engineering in your holidays and/ or cuisine? Read another fun blog post called “Charts, Gadgets and Can Openers: Thanksgiving Cooking for Engineers” or download PTC Mathcad Express to see if you can cook up some of your own calculations…